Xaverian recently had the chance to catch up with Kevin Bowery, a 2017 graduate who went on to attend the University of Scranton and has quite an interesting talent as a drone pilot! Kevin shares how he found his passion for flying, who from Xaverian encouraged him along the way, and some words of wisdom about how current Hawks can find passion in what they do.
X: What is it like being a drone pilot?
Being a drone pilot is what I make it out to be. It is still a relatively new role in the professional world, so I get to write the book as I go. My team at Production Systems Automation (PSA), "designs custom UAVs for military applications, from complex airframes for specialized applications to G hardened autopilot printed circuit boards" (psasystems.com/dod
). I help design the airframes and test the aircraft before they start getting autonomous capabilities.
X: How did you happen to find yourself in this role?
KB: I started flying drones as a hobby when I was a freshman at Xaverian. For the first four years I would go to parks or schools on the weekends. After graduation in 2017, I started going to local drone races. When the pandemic hit, I started racing more seriously at the local MultiGP chapter in Wrentham. In 2020, I qualified as the 200th fastest among more than 25,000 pilots globally. In 2021, I competed in the virtual MultiGP STEM Alliance tournaments and won back-to-back championships during the winter. When the regular racing season finished I qualified 205th fastest among over 30,000 pilots. As I approached graduation, my former classmate (now coworker) reached out to me looking for help with his internship developing UAVs. I was so excited to have this opportunity, and applied to Production Systems Automation as an intern. I was offered a full time position as an IT Specialist and Drone Pilot right before graduation in May, and started there this past July.
X: Did your college career play any role in your current occupation?
KB: At The University of Scranton, I double majored in theology and information technology (IT). I worked in the Office of Campus Ministries as a work study student. My primary role there was making monthly videos advertising the different events the office was hosting. I started using my drones to make the videos more dynamic. This gave me opportunities to develop my UAV skills during the school year. It was also a unique opportunity to share my faith with others using a medium I was comfortable communicating with. On a daily basis at PSA, my IT training is called upon for issues pertaining to both UAVs and office productivity.
X: Who can you site at Xaverian who had an impact on what you do now?
KB: Mr. Erikson's video design class I took during sophomore year at Xaverian helped me with my campus ministries work study job. I was using the skills I learned then on a monthly basis. I still use the composition lessons I learned in Ms. Duddy's digital photography class and AP art class when I'm making video edits or practicing aerial photography. She encouraged me to continue working with digital media in college. In addition to my job at PSA, I'm starting my own company called Mayan Aerial Solutions, where I plan to practice aerial photography and videography. I already know that I will be using the skills she taught me as I continue with this venture.
X: What is your advice to current Hawks who are trying to discover their passions/career?
KB: Follow your passions and hobbies. I met my fiance on a retreat, now we fly drones together. She comes with me to races and encourages me to pursue my ambitions. Now she's the co-founder of my business venture. Having someone (like Liz and my family) who supports you and encourages you to pursue your interests is a big part of how I got to where I am today.